McLean County Health Department Administrator Jessica McKnight said Friday the COVID-19 testing site at the Interstate Center in Bloomington will take walk-ins starting Saturday when a private lab takes over the clinic.

McKnight said she hopes this enables people without their own private vehicle to get tested.

“We are focused on being able to make the testing site accessible,” McKnight said. “That’s really the benchmark we’ve been looking at. How do we bring this testing site to those vulnerable populations?”

McKnight added she hopes the county can locate more accessible testing sites in the future.

“We’re hopeful in the next couple weeks to be able to identify other locations where we might bring this to additional individuals.”

McKnight said the Pekin-based testing lab Reditus won’t have a limit on the number of tests either.

The site reached its daily capacity of 250 twice last week. The testing site was largely underutilized until late April, when the state loosened testing guidelines to allow some asymptomatic people to get tested. Turnout spiked after state officials announced they were closing the site.

IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau said Thursday the site will remain in Bloomington “as long as it is needed.”

No New Cases
 

The McLean County Health Department announced no new cases on Friday and noted a previous case was later confirmed as coming from outside the county, reducing McLean County’s count of confirmed cases to 196.

Six more patients have recovered. Five patients remain hospitalized and 58 are in home isolation. Nine McLean County residents have died of COVID-19, including six residents of the Bloomington Rehabilitation and Health Care Center.

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The state of Illinois announced 2,758 news coronavirus cases and 108 deaths on Friday. The Illinois Department of Public Health has reported 105,444 cases and 4,715 deaths.

Restore Illinois

McKnight said she anticipates a rise in coronavirus cases as more businesses reopen. 

Bars and restaurants in Illinois may be allowed to offer outdoor dining as early as next weekend. McLean County is considering a faster reopening that matches what officials in 11 Central Illinois counties had proposed. 

“We know that as people are going to be moving around and coming in contact with more people, we do expect cases to go up, just because there’s more interaction and the virus is moving,” McKnight said. 

McKnight said the health department plans to continue handling complaints about social distancing violations in her office, even as more businesses reopen. She said her office doesn’t plan to take a punitive approach, but will instead focus on education. 

“(We are) focusing on making sure our businesses in the community are aware of what the guidance is and what is expected of them and that we are looking for them to voluntarily comply,” said said. 

McKnight added the county could refer complaints to state regulators for business owners who refuse to comply. 

The health department has authority to strip licensing for bars and restaurants that violate social distancing guidelines. 

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